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Re­view of Gray Man: Cam­ou­flage For Crowds, Cities, and Civil Cri­sis

RECOIL OFFGRID - - Contents - By Zero One Fac­tual

Re­view of Gray Man

The Premise: The term “gray man” has been around for a long time and ba­si­cally ref­er­ences an in­di­vid­ual who can blend into his or her sur­round­ings to not draw attention for rea­sons of in­di­vid­ual se­cu­rity or op­er­a­tional suc­cess in a more tac­ti­cal/pro­fes­sional setting. I started as a novice in 2000 and have been re­ceiv­ing train­ing from the U.S. gov­ern­ment ever since in low-vis and clan­des­tine op­er­a­tions. Af­ter 17 years, I still feel like I’m learn­ing, but I also know when an ex­pert in this genre knows what he or she is speak­ing about.

Gray Man is a re­cent foray into a topic that’s dis­cussed on blogs and in­ter­net fo­rums ga­lore. The au­thor, Matthew Der­mody, is very knowl­edge­able on the sub­jects of cam­ou­flage and con­ceal­ment. He has other books on the topic as well as in­struc­tion­als at his web­site hid­den­suc­cesstac­ti­cal.com, and knows how to ex­plain these top­ics clearly to any­one from novices to ex­perts.

Over­all, Gray Man is an ex­cel­lent and re­source­ful book for some­one who wants to know more about the sub­ject, be it those who can’t af­ford more ex­pen­sive ex­pe­ri­ence-based cour­ses or in­di­vid­u­als who’ve never had mil­i­tary train­ing. It also helps quell some of the on­line chat­ter on the topic and is a good re­source to dif­fer­en­ti­ate fact from opin­ion.

The 411: Gray Man con­sists of 11 chap­ters with a fore­word and a con­clu­sion, along with a few ex­tra pages with use­ful web­sites to go to for more in­for­ma­tion or to pur­chase cer­tain items you may need if you de­cide to prac­tice this book’s. Some of these items would be con­sid­ered ev­ery­day carry (EDC), which can be some­what sub­jec­tive and re­liant on in­di­vid­ual pref­er­ence. The chap­ters dis­cuss top­ics such as what the gray man con­cept is, what stim­uli is and how it can af­fect the gray man, self-con­trol, si­t­u­a­tional sense, sur­veil­lance, and sev­eral top­ics re­lated to the over­ar­ch­ing theme. The chap­ters are pre­sented in a well-writ­ten and cal­cu­lated or­der that helps the reader build on the knowl­edge from the pre­vi­ous chap­ter.

There’s no fluf f or filler, just straight fac­tual in­for­ma­tion for you to read, re­mem­ber, and ap­ply. One of the more im­por­tant top­ics Mr. Der­mody speaks about is si­t­u­a­tional sense, which he de­scribes as a blend­ing of si­t­u­a­tional aware­ness and com­mon sense. I found that in­for­ma­tion to be very ap­pli­ca­ble to ev­ery­day life in and around the world in any sit­u­a­tion. Si­t­u­a­tional sense is what we should all strive to mas­ter on a daily ba­sis. I know us­ing it has kept me alive in many sit­u­a­tions in over­seas en­vi­ron­ments. Ev­ery other chap­ter is full of sim­i­lar use­ful and prac­ti­cal in­for­ma­tion as well.

The book was so easy to read, un­der­stand, and en­gage with that I was able to go through it all in one fell swoop. Some of the top­ics Der­mody writes about will not be new to ev­ery reader, such as var­i­ous ba­sic self­aware­ness tech­niques and discussion points like what at­tire to wear and how to move, but I guar­an­tee there’ll be sev­eral gray-man fun­da­men­tals you read that’ll make you aware of your own daily in­ad­e­qua­cies.

If you choose to im­ple­ment the au­thor’s sug­ges­tions you will greatly en­hance your abil­ity to stay in the gray area when you want to. The only com­plaints I have about the book are very mi­nor. One is the lack of color photos, and the only other is that I wish it had been longer and more in depth. How­ever, I can tell the au­thor in­ten­tion­ally kept it sim­ple and didn’t want to write so much that it could po­ten­tially make the reader suf­fer from sen­sory over­load, lead­ing to a fail­ure to re­mem­ber and ap­ply these lessons.

The Ver­dict: I’d rec­om­mend this book to al­most any­one, in­clud­ing cur­rent and former mil­i­tary mem­bers. It’ll help you to un­der­stand how you can im­prove to min­i­mize your pres­ence on a daily ba­sis, as well as skills that you may have for­got­ten over time or were never made aware of to be­gin with. Un­der­cover po­lice of­fi­cers, pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tors, over­seas con­trac­tors, and the av­er­age trav­eler will all ben­e­fit from read­ing this book. Not stand­ing out, es­pe­cially as an Amer­i­can in cer­tain places, has many ad­van­tages in our cur­rent po­lit­i­cal cli­mate.

This book can help all of us to bet­ter un­der­stand dis­creet travel, dress, be­hav­ior, and si­t­u­a­tional aware­ness.

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